Limited data exist on age-related physiological variations in plasma concentrations of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in dogs, despite their potential role in the pathophysiology of ageing. This study examined plasma cortisol and DHEA concentrations and cortisol/DHEA ratio variations, according to age and sex in 311 dogs, aged from two months to 16 years. Before adulthood, DHEA concentrations were higher in peri-pubertal males. During adulthood, cortisol and DHEA were higher in males than females. Among females, DHEA was lower in older dogs, but the decrease was observed at an older age in intact than ovariectomised females. Variations in the cortisol/DHEA ratio inversely reflected those of DHEA. Results indicate that testicles are an important source of DHEA in males, and that DHEA is mainly secreted by the adrenal glands in females. The ovaries’ contribution to circulating DHEA appears to be limited, although it may partially compensate an age-related decrease in adrenal secretion.
Age, Cortisol, Dehydroepiandrosterone, Dog, Sex
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